Nottingham City Council is taking action to make more homes available to homeless people in the city, taking the total to 220 over the last two years.
The council’s Executive Board has agreed a loan for Nottingham City Homes to buy 70 more properties with a view to turning them into temporary accommodation for homeless households.
The move aims to reduce the use of bed and breakfast (B&B) facilities as temporary accommodation, as it’s undesirable for families and costly for the council.
The number of people registering as homeless has been on the rise in recent years, mainly due to a scarcity of affordable homes and continuing austerity leading to the reduction of homelessness prevention services and cuts to welfare benefits.
Housebuilding by social landlords cannot keep pace with the number of homes lost via Right to Buy, and the turnover of social housing has dramatically reduced as alternative options such as home ownership have become unachievable for many.
Welfare reform has led to people losing their homes because of rent arrears, and has significantly reduced housing options for households on low incomes.
The council is determined to limit the use of B&Bs as far as possible – the use of self-contained private properties meant that no families were in B&Bs last Christmas.
Nottingham City Homes has now delivered 111 properties for homelessness temporary use and this will soon be increased to 150. NCH run a hostel called Highwood House for homeless families – providing a further 29 flats, offering 132 people temporary accommodation.
City Council Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, Cllr Linda Woodings, said: “We have seen the number of people registering as homeless rise significantly in recent years and are doing what we can to ensure there is enough decent temporary housing to accommodate them while longer-term solutions are found.
“This latest tranche of house buying by NCH will ultimately mean that 220 households facing homelessness will have somewhere reasonable to stay, avoiding the need to use B&Bs.”
Nick Murphy, Chief Executive at Nottingham City Homes, said: “We have already built over 500 new council homes over the last five years and there are hundreds more in the pipeline; however, the waiting list and homelessness is continuing to grow.
“We are working with the council to look at ways we can increase the amount of affordable housing in Nottingham. We are supporting local homeless families as much as possible and this much-needed funding will go to buying homes which will allow us to provide quality short-term accommodation for those in need.”